Friday, July 27, 2018

Tonight's Total Lunar Eclipse

Tonight much of the world can view a total lunar eclipse. A lunar eclipse happens when the Earth casts its shadow over the moon. Because the moon is currently at its most distant point from the Earth (apogee) this lunar eclipse will last longer than usual. We won’t get to see such a lengthy total eclipse again until June 9, 2123. However because the moon is so far away it will also look smaller than usual.

Time and Date has created an interactive map for the event. Their Map of the Total Lunar Eclipse shows where a total eclipse will be visible and where a partial eclipse can be seen. If you click on the map you can view the length of the eclipse at the selected location and the times when the eclipse will begin and end.

As you can see from the screenshot above North and Central America are about the only locations in the world where you won't be able to see the eclipse. If you live anywhere else in the world you will be able to see at the very least a partial eclipse of the moon.

At the moment Mars is making its closest approach to Earth (it will be at its closest on July 31). This means that if we have clear skies tonight you should also be able to see the red planet. The Mars and the Moon will be separated by only five degrees. That is about the same as the width of your three middle fingers held at arm’s length. Mars will be slightly to the right and below the moon in the night sky.

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